HPAC Magazine

Ontario announces $20M support for apprenticeship training at small businesses

This funding announcement came out just days before a report noting that less than one-fifth of people who embark upon an apprenticeship program in Canada complete their training within the designated time period.

December 9, 2020   By HPAC Magazine

The Ontario government is investing $20 million to help small businesses jointly sponsor and train apprentices through its new Group Sponsorship Grant program. This funding announcement came out just days before a report noting that less than one-fifth of people who embark upon an apprenticeship program in Canada complete their training within the designated time period.

The grant program in Ontario is designed to increase the number of people training and working in the skilled trades and provide apprentices with the support needed to become a registered journeyperson, while at the same time reducing pressure on any one employer to see an apprentice through to completion of training

The group sponsors consist of two or more people who act as a single sponsor to collectively provide training to apprentices to grow their skills and help them gain work experience. Group sponsors will share apprenticeship management and training responsibilities, including:

Advertisment
  • interviewing and selecting prospective apprentices and establishing a training network
  • coordinating and monitoring the apprentice’s on-the-job workplace training
  • submitting documentation for apprenticeship application, registration of training agreements and completion of the apprenticeship training programs
  • supporting apprentices through the complete apprenticeship cycle, including registration, workplace and classroom-based training, completion and trade certification
  • overseeing affiliated employers and organizations who provide apprenticeship training and ensure they are delivering apprenticeship training in accordance with the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act, its regulations and training standards.

Successful sponsor applicants may receive funding for up to three years.

Employers and organizations can apply for the Group Sponsorship Grant at Ontario.ca/hireanapprentice.

The new apprenticeship study, released by Statistics Canada entitled: “Factors associated with the completion of apprenticeship training in Canada,”
identifies that apprentices in higher-paying apprenticeship positions are more likely to complete their program within a given period of time than those in lower-paying positions.

It also found that over the last two decades, the number of new registrations in apprenticeship programs have outpaced certificates granted, suggesting that many apprentices did not complete their program, sparking the need to study certification rates of apprentices to better understand the factors associated with successful program completion and certification in the trades.

While the data used in the current study were collected prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the results highlight the many challenges faced by apprentices during their training.

A majority of apprentices take longer than the program duration to receive their certificate. By the end of the expected duration of the program, less than one-fifth (16%) had received a certificate, while almost two-thirds (64%) were still continuing their program and one-fifth (20%) had left their training.

The study notes that employers play an important role in supporting apprentices throughout their programs. For example, apprentices who had higher-paying apprenticeship positions were more likely to complete their program than those in lower-paying positions. More specifically, apprentices who earned from $45,000 to $59,999 in the registration year (46%) were 11 percentage points more likely to receive their certificate than those who earned from $15,000 to $29,999 (35%).

Furthermore, apprentices who received their certificate earned the highest wages throughout their training progression. Their income also rose at a faster pace than long-term continuers (those who were still registered to their program at one and a half times their program duration) and apprentices who left their program. For example, at the end of the normal program duration, the median annual income of apprentices who received their certificate was $51,920, compared with $33,350 for long-term continuers and $32,710 for those who left their program.

According to data from the National Apprenticeship Survey, apprentices who left their training cited job instability and receiving a better job offer as the main reasons for abandoning their apprenticeship, followed by financial constraints and personal or family issues.

Interestingly, of the mostly male-dominated trades, the electrician, automotive services, carpenter, welder and plumber, pipefitter and steamfitter trades are the most popular among female apprentices. Altogether, these five training programs accounted for 12% of female apprentices who had registered in an apprenticeship program since 2008.

This study’s findings emphasize the importance of having an appropriate job for apprenticeship. Apprentices who had stable and well-paying jobs with benefits were more likely to become certified than those who did not.